Friday, November 14, 2008

The Calm Before The Storm

I used to be relatively lucky with race weather. This year, it's been one weather disaster after another, for the most part! At the Shamrock marathon, I faced some strong winds, at the London marathon, periods of torrential downpour, at a four-mile, a 100-degree heat index, at the VA Beach half, 93% humidity.

Tomorrow, for the Richmond half marathon, they are forecasting thunderstorms, with rain heavy at times. Some forecasts predict that the storms will be over by 8:00am, leaving lighter rain, while other forecasts have the thunderstorms continuing on through the race. What this means for runners is:

- Wet, heavy shoes, with the potential to blister
- Lack of crowd support and entertainment
- Fewer volunteers
- Increased risk of slipping/falling
- Chafing, heavy clothing, etc.

I am worried about all of these things, plus straining my groin like I did in London because those muscles work overtime to help you maintain your balance on wet pavement. I am more worried about getting sick, given my experience at the VA Beach half marathon, which resulted in me being sick for about six weeks. And of course, I am agonizing over what to wear. I packed pretty much my entire running wardrobe! The key item, though, will be my hat with a visor to keep the water off of my face. I've proven on a few occasions that I race well in the wind, so I am not worried about that.

On the plus side, it won't be cold. It's supposed to be in the lower 60's, so I won't need gloves. I am seriously thinking that running in a sports bra without a shirt might be the best option to avoid a soaking garment just hanging on me the whole time. Body Glide will also be key!

My original plan was to drive down to Richmond (90-minute drive) at 5:00am and arrive at 6:30 for the 7:30am race. However, the storms are supposed to be quite severe during that period, which is not safe. Not only is it not safe, but it would take a lot more time than expected, and I wouldn't be able to "relax" and just cruise my way along. Upon hearing the forecast, I booked a hotel this morning, so I am leaving work at 3:30 to drive down there. There will still be rain and darkness to contend with, and a lot of traffic, but it will be safer, and I won't have to worry about that stress on race morning. I think that I would seriously be tempted to not even leave my house in those conditions!

My original goal was 1:47:xx, with an average pace of 8:10-8:13. Based on my speedwork sessions during the past few weeks, this goal seemed to be well within my reach. Heck, even a 1:46:xx was looking like it might be possible. But now, I am not so sure! My main objective will be to avoid slipping and injuring myself, and I am hoping that the weather doesn't dampen my mood. Being mentally "happy" and "excited" is a key element of racing. I likely won't have my iPod, either.

You can track me via text message alerts or emails by going here. I don't think you will need my bib number, but just in case, it's 5567. The race is using the D-Tag system, which is known for incorrectly recording splits. So if I seem to be running really fast or really slow, then it's probably just the D-Tag!

1 comment:

  1. Good luck! There's nothing you can do about the weather, so just assess on race morning, pick an outfit and go with it. You will do awesome. Don't skimp on the Bodyglide!!! :D